This famous sentence Jesus uttered to John wasn’t written as an evangelistic reference to those who hadn’t made a commitment of faith before but to a church that was in real trouble.
Churches in trouble today seem to be becoming more common in the public media for all the wrong reasons.
Jesus here in Revelation 3:15 addressed the church at Laodicea with a harsh rebuke:
‘I know what you get up to and what you do, you’re neither hot nor cold! Because you are lukewarm, I will spit you from My mouth’.
Laodicea had become wealthy financially and therefore their need and love for God had diminished.
One of the realities we face in New Zealand today is that today most people wouldn’t say they had a need for God.
We live in a relatively peaceful country by world standards and have a higher standard of living despite rising financial costs.
We don’t share a border with another country, we don’t have to negotiate with a neighbour who shares a different value system and culture. We live in relative peace and security in an island that requires at least three hours of flight to the next neighbour.
As Christians Jesus called them to seek after Him and the riches only, He can provide. Whilst they coveted the wealth of the gold trading in the cities financial, He calls them to seek out the riches from God refined by fire so that they may truly become rich (vs 18).
Repeatedly in Revelation the letter from John calls believers to ‘overcome’. Overcome in the face of adversity, persecution, but here I believe the call also is to overcome the desire that we will all be faced with as followers of Jesus which is to camp out and get comfortable. A call away from the integrity of pursuing the life Jesus calls us to the life of a pioneer, seeking out the narrow path with Jesus. Seeking out the ancient pathway Christ laid down for us which include, self-denial, putting others needs before our own, doing our part to elevate the church as Christs bride.
I’ve often wondered what a letter from Jesus to the church of New Zealand would He include? Perhaps it would say something of being blessed on all four sides with peace and prosperity, maybe it would include the blessing of the gospel to our shores 200 years ago. What would Jesus say to New Zealand church today? It’s easy to say it maybe a letter of rebuke, but how would Jesus encourage us to keep up the good fight? I think like all the churches, the Apostle John’s word of perseverance would ring true. Revelation as a letter has always been a handbook of overcoming for those who are persecuted. A book to encourage those facing hard times and injustice.
It’s never been a book of escaping troubles, but one of calling people to know God is faithful and a God of Justice who will always look to put right His world again and that reward is in store for those who hold fast to the lamb (Jesus).
Jesus does stand and knock on our hearts daily and if you’re a follower of His, it’s times to open the door let Him in to sit on the throne of your heart and invite Him to be in charge. He has a fruitful life like you could never dream about. His Spirit looks for those who are willing to inhabit them and be a blessing to the world around them.